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Cerebral Palsy

A Conversation with Angela Sinner, DO

Dr. SinnerAngela Sinner, DO has worked as a Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Physician at Gillette Children's for nearly a decade. She is the co-director of Gillette's inpatient rehabilitation unit and Sinner specializes in treating cerebral palsy, muscle spasticity and tone management, as well as traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. 

Learn more about her, here:

What brought you to Gillette?

When I rotated at Gillette in medical school, I met and worked with Marshall Taniguchi, MD. After I finished my rotation, he encouraged me to explore Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine going forward.

I think we were on the same page, as that’s exactly what I did. After spending time at Gillette, I knew it was where I wanted to be.

It felt like coming home. Both as a medical professional as well as a person.

My younger brother, Peter, has cerebral palsy. While we were growing up, we received strong support from a close network of family, friends and of course, the medical providers who helped my brother get to where he is today.

But even with that collective support, at an early age I also encountered the numerous challenges that our patients and families at Gillette often experience.

As a doctor, I want to be a link in that chain of support for other families like mine. I want to help kids and their families find their best selves and live their best lives.

At Gillette, that’s always been our goal. That’s what got me here and it’s why I’m still here.

How have you changed since you started working here? 

Since I started working at Gillette, my own family has expanded. Mainly in the sense that I now have more children than we used to, 4 in total. As all parents know, that can change a great number of things.

I’ve always been deeply passionate about providing the best care possible for my patients, but when I talk to one of our families who is going through a difficult time and see the all-encompassing love they have for their child.  I can’t help but think about my own kids and how it would feel to see them with medical challenges, as well as the lengths a parent would go to, to help them get better.

I thought I understood that feeling before. I understand it much more acutely, now. There are many different reasons that I’ve changed and become a better doctor since I started here. Being a parent is definitely one of them.

What do you love most about your job? 
I love working with our patients and families, hearing their stories and helping them reach their goals whenever possible.

We’re always happy to see our patients, but we’re also very cognizant of the reality that no one really wants to spend a great deal of time in the hospital, much less a child who’s going through a lengthy rehabilitation stay after a surgical procedure or trauma.
While the care and therapies we provide at Gillette are effective, not all of them are fun or something our patients might want to do on a given day. If we’re asking our patients and their families to bring their best and put in the work, that also means that we need to do the same.

When it comes to our Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine team at Gillette, we’re very good at what we do, but the future success of our patients is often largely determined by the shared partnership between our medical staff and our families.

I’m very proud that Gillette has created a culture that focuses on the importance of those small interpersonal interactions that can go a long way in creating a positive experience for everyone involved.

In a time where positivity may be in short supply, what are you most thankful for as we approach the holiday season?

I'd love to send a message of THANKS to all of the Gillette parents, guardians, grandparents, foster parents and caregivers. As a physician (and mother), I see in your eyes the fatigue, stress and challenges. You all stepping up and doing what needs to be done is not a surprise. It’s what you’ve always done.

You do so much for your kids, our patients, and you are our team members in caring for these children. I also want to remind you all to take care of yourselves. You need your strength and endurance to continue taking care of your kids in these challenging times. I hope that you all have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

Dr. Sinner